Most of the Makarora is a wide braided river, which gets quite bony in the upper reaches in normal flows. The main road runs close by for much of its length, so you could start higher (Davis Flat) or even do the short hike to the swingbridge by the Makarora Gorge for a slightly more remote trip.
The Makarora River (II) Cameron Flat to Bridge Flat
This short section has a few class II rapids which can make for an afternoon’s fun or combined with a bigger float..
The interesting part starts just after the river heads abruptly away from the road. Some wave trains and boulder gardens end about where the swing bridge is. Make sure you smile at all the tourists going to the Blue pools. If you haven’t already been, its worth wandering up to the tourist bridge above Blue pools for a look. However, the Makarora has Didymo and the Blue doesn’t, so make sure you don’t bring your boat up or drip into the river!
Beneath the Blue confluence, there are one or two more riffles, then a long flat paddle to Bridge Flat. It’s a little tricky to see the car park area from the river, but its above some bouldery stop banks. From here you can hitch back to your car relatively easily.
There isn’t a flow gauge, but there is a rain gauge in
Makarora. Having a bit of rain helps make the trip a little less bony, especially if you’re planning to float the braided sections above and below.
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Dan’s flat? 🙂 – Davis flat maybe… Any idea on grade of Makarora gorge?